Earlier, shelling from Pakistan affected agricultural activities along the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir, and now, flood waters from the other side are damaging standing paddy crop in the region.
Farmers in R S Pura sector have suffered heavy losses as thousands of acres of agricultural land along the border is inundated. Significantly, the flood-hit villages have no river or canal nearby and irrigation is carried out using pump sets.
The region got flooded after a bund constructed near Chumbiyan village by Pakistan was breached by swollen Tawi and the water returned to the Indian side. Chumbiyan village is situated opposite BSF’s Mangral border outpost.
Several villages in R S Pura sector are at a level lower than villages in Pakistan.
Pritam Singh of Raipur Sazdian pointed out that Tawi in Jammu flows into Pakistan from Allah Mai De Kothey village on the Indian side. Earlier too, the swollen Tawi used to wreck havoc along the catchment areas in both India and Pakistan. However, it has been the first time that the flood waters have returned to the Indian side, he added.
Though the flood in Tawi has receded, its water is still entering the fields on the Indian side, submerging thousands of acres in more than a dozen villages, including Kotla Manasa, Sangral, Kotli Konoka, Khatmarian and Layena.
“I cannot sleep, I keep thinking about my paddy crop. At the crack of the dawn, I go to the fields in the hope that water may have receded,” said Surjit Singh, who had sown paddy in his seven-acre field. “Earlier, the Pakistani shells had been damaging our crops and now, the rest has been damaged by floods from across the border,” he said.
Chaman Lal, whose four-acre field is inundated, said, “The villagers are also worried over the diversion of Tawi waters from Pakistan… If the river is not restored to its original course, we cannot cultivate any crop here in the future.”